Australia’s iconic Christian singer Darlene Zschech led worship for Pope Francis at an ecumenical prayer gathering of more than 30,000 people at the Vatican last week.
The event, on Friday July 3, was a prayer and worship gathering for the persecuted church called Voices In Prayer led by Pope Francis in St Peter’s Square.
It was part of the 38th Annual Convocation of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, a Holy-Spirit centred movement within the Catholic Church also known as Renewal In The Holy Spirit (Rinnovamento nello Spirito Santo).
Darlene sang alongside the world-renowned tenor and devout Catholic Andrea Bocelli, US worship leader Don Moen, and Israeli singer-songwriter Noa (Anchinoam Nini).
Together they led the gathering of believers in singing Amazing Grace.
Ecumenical Event Makes History
The event brought together Protestants, Catholics and Jews together to pray for believers around the world who are being martyred and persecuted.
According to The Examiner, it was historic occasion, being the first ever ecumenical event held in St Peter’s Square.
“We want to give a voice to those who have lost the right to live, to have a home with their families and live with their loved ones,” he said.
“The right to confess a faith means the capacity to confess it freely.”
Calling All Believers To Pray For The Persecuted
US worship artist Don Moen, one of the singers at the event, called on believers to join in the prayer movement.
“Although there are many denominational differences throughout the church worldwide, I have seen first hand how coming together in worship and prayer promotes unity,” he said in a press release.
“Join me as we pray for those who are being jailed, beaten, and killed for professing their belief in Jesus Christ.”
Pope Francis Urges Believers To Look To The Holy Spirit
Pope Francis addressed the gathering, warning people not to rely upon charismatic leaders but instead on the Holy Spirit, according to a report in Christian Today.
He also said he believes the Catholic Church should not have leaders for life, and that pontiffs should be prepared to resign if they could no longer lead.
”Let’s be clear. The only one who cannot be substituted in the Church is the Holy Spirit,” he said.
Darlene Praising God For Unity In The Church
Darlene Zschech, who co-leads Hope Unlimited Church on the NSW Central Coast, said after the event on her Facebook page, “What a day. All honour and praise to our Father in Heaven. Thank You, Thank You, Jesus.”
The Catholic Charismatic Renewal is a movement recognised by church leaders including the Pope, that emphasises the importance of having a personal relationship with Jesus and expressing the gifts of the Holy Spirit – such as prophecy, healing and speaking in tongues.
According to the Catholic World Report, by 2013 the movement had members in more than 230 nations, with over 160 million members.
See a full video of the Voices In Prayer Event on the “vatican” Youtube channel.